OAKLAND – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was pushing to unlock a tie midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. He cocked back to let one fly, but a defender got a hand in and smacked Carr’s arm during a throwing motion.
The result was a quacking duck well short of streaking receiver Michael Crabtree, an easy interception at a pivotal time. The Ravens marched downfield and broke the tie with a field goal.
Carr had two minutes to take the game back. His arm was sore from initial contact, but he didn’t show stress. He exuded confidence on the sideline, and believed the Raiders would complete the comeback.
“I just looked in the huddle, and it was just a great to see a confident look on everyone’s face,” Carr said. “It felt like we were just at practice. We worked on moment like this. We practiced against this. We practiced against these looks. It was just a confident look toward everyone in that huddle, and I just thought 'Hey man, I better not screw it up. These guys are ready to go.'”
The Raiders certainly were. They marched 80 yards on a game-winning, eight-play drive that ended with Carr’s 12-yard touchdown to Seth Roberts.
Carr was near perfect on the series, going 7-for-9 for 65 yards to complete his second career comeback drive. It was made more impressive that he had thrown an interception the previous drive. The second-year pro showed savvy, and an ability to come through in the clutch.
“You’ve got to have that short-term memory. You’ve got to go out and perform regardless of what happened the last play, the last series or the last game, whatever it may be,” safety Charles Woodson said. “He showed poise and he stood in there in the pocket, made some great throws. Receivers and tight ends and backs made some great catches for him and they moved that ball down the field and put us in a position to win and they got it done.
“This guy…man. He’s a special guy and you saw that with that last drive today.”
Carr took the praise in stride, deflecting it out to his teammates. Carr gave a strong performance against Baltimore outside the interception, completing 30-of-46 passes for 351 yards, three touchdowns, a pick and a 100.9 passer rating. Carr connected with 10 different receivers, and got Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree over 100 yards receiving.
He was precise with location and velocity a week after bruising his throwing hand, which enabled the Raiders to move downfield consistently. The interception was the only pock on his record, and he rebounded mentally and physically in time to usher in a vital victory.
“It’s a tough play the way it happened, but, all I was thinking man, was just give us a chance, please Lord, just give us a chance,” Carr said. “I’m thankful our defense held up and Coach Del Rio did great with the time outs. I think the clock management was awesome to give us that much time and get the ball back. Then after that, I just told the guys in the huddle to believe we could do it. We’ve done this a thousand times in practice. I told them to believe it, and they did a great job of making plays.”